How to Stop a Migraine Aura
Classic migraines start with a warning sign, called an aura. A migraine aura occurs before the actual migraine attack. Most often, a migraine aura is characterized by visual disturbances, according to MayoClinic.com 1. Symptoms can include flashes of light, blind spots, distorted vision or light patterns, which may occur up to 30 minutes prior to the onset of pain. Treating the migraine during the aura can, in some cases, halt the headache before the pain starts, effectively ending the migraine before it even truly begins.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Stop whatever you are doing as soon as you begin to notice aura symptoms and make an attempt to head off the oncoming migraine. The longer you wait to treat aura symptoms, the more likely it will develop into a full-blown migraine.
Herbal Tea for a Headache
Go into a darkened room and gently massage your head. Relieving the pressure in your scalp under relaxing conditions may help tame the oncoming migraine.
Try biofeedback at the first sign of aura. Biofeedback is an alternative medicine technique in which you monitor and control your biological responses using your brain, explains MayoClinic.com. Electrodes attached to the skin can measure factors like skin temperature, brain waves and muscle tension. With help from a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to precisely relax the muscles or blood vessels in the brain and stop the oncoming migraine.
Early Warning Signs of a Seizure
Drink a cup of coffee. For some people, caffeine helps stop a developing migraine, especially when used in conjunction with acetaminophen. However, using caffeine too often may cause withdrawal headaches, explains the Cleveland Clinic 3.
Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water or other fluids. Hydration is especially important when the aura is accompanied by vomiting.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever during your aura, before the headache actually begins. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are all good options.
Take a triptan medication. Triptans halt a migraine in progress by constricting blood vessels and can be taken during the aura that precedes a migraine. Ask your doctor for a prescription of a triptan drug, since these are not available over-the-counter.
Try using the herbs butterbur or feverfew after consulting with a doctor about the appropriate dose and frequency of use. The University of Maryland Medical Center website notes that these herbs have been shown effective at stopping or preventing migraines in small clinical studies 5.
Use a homeopathic remedy after consulting a registered homeopath for advice on the specific compound to use for your individual symptoms. Some common homeopathic remedies include belladonna, bryonia, ignatia, lachesis and sepia, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website 5.
Overusing pain medication during a migraine can trigger rebound headaches, so these drugs should not be used for more than three days in a single week.
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- MayoClinic.com: Migraine with Aura
- MayoClinic.com: Migraines- Simple Steps to Head Off the Pain
- Cleveland Clinic: Migraine Headaches
- Medline Plus: Migraine
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Migraine Headache
- American Migraine Foundation. Understanding Migraine with Aura.
- Yeh WZ, Blizzard L, Taylor BV. What is the actual prevalence of migraine? Brain Behav. 2018;8(6):e00950. doi:10.1002/brb3.950
- Viana M, Sprenger T, Andelova M, Goadsby PJ. The typical duration of migraine aura: a systematic review. Cephalalgia. 2013;33(7):483-90. doi:10.1177/0333102413479834
- Sauro KM, Becker WJ. The stress and migraine interaction. Headache. 2009;49(9):1378-86. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4610.2009.01486.x
- American Migraine Foundation. Migraine and Stroke.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;(6):CD001218. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3
- Pardutz A, Schoenen J. NSAIDs in the Acute Treatment of Migraine: A Review of Clinical and Experimental Data. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(6):1966-1987. doi:10.3390/ph3061966
- Gelfand AA, Goadsby PJ. A Neurologist's Guide to Acute Migraine Therapy in the Emergency Room. Neurohospitalist. 2012;2(2):51-59. doi:10.1177/1941874412439583
- Buse DC, Fanning KM, Reed ML, et al. Life With Migraine: Effects on Relationships, Career, and Finances From the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study. Headache. 2019;59(8):1286-1299. doi:10.1111/head.13613
- American Migraine Foundation. Migraine and Aura.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the Prevention of Episodic Migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. June 28, 2016. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3
- Mayo Clinic. Migraine With Aura.
- MedlinePlus. Botox. Dec 19, 2018.
- Silberstein SD, Holland S, Freitag F, et al. Evidence-based Guideline Update: Pharmacologic Treatment for Episodic Migraine Prevention in Adults. Neurology. Apr 2012, 78(17)1337-1345. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182535d20
- Yeh WZ, Blizzard L, and Taylor BV. What Is the Actual Prevalence of Migraine? Brain and Behavior. 2018 Jun; 8(6): e00950. doi: 10.1002/brb3.950
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.